Ringer Spy Glow sends us this EXCLUSIVE follow-up set of pictures from the mysterious Hobbit set on the South Island of New Zealand.
What’s there to see? Well, we close get a look at the set itself, and some fascinating detail work that has already gone the construction, plus some stunning wide shots. But what do they look like and what does it all mean? Is it Radagast’s Rhosgobel, or Beorn’s Hall?
To find out you’ll have to join us beyond the cut in SPOILER COUNTRY!
Here are Glow’s pics below in a gallery for easy viewing. Unless they’re not, in which case I’ve stuffed up the gallery code…
The first few images show the area they’re shooting in. We know that one of the convoys that left Stone Street Studios in Miramar to transport vital gear for location filming was off to Queenstown. So, it’s a good guess that this is in the Glenorchy/Paradise region.
The wide shots
Next, we see several long shots of the set from the public road. It cerntainly looks as though the set is nestled under the eaves of the forest.
This is a description that’s often been applied to Radagast the Brown’s “homestead” of Rhosgobel. We know very little about Rhosgobel except that it was located close to the borders of southern Mirkwood.
On the other hand does not live in Mirkwood, but Gandalf says to Bilbo in the Hobbit (Ch 7: Queer Lodgings): “He lives in an oak-wood and has a great wooden house…” Then later in the same chapter as Thorin and Co approach Beorn’s hall, the following passage pops up: “After a while they came to a belt of tall and very ancient oaks, and beyond these to a high thorn hedge through which you could neither see nor scramble.”
It’s hard to see anything looking like a hedge at this point in the gallery, though.
Getting close-in: the small, narrow building
Around the tenth or so image, Ringer Glow takes us closer. We see a small narrow building amidst the trees. It is half-constructed.
It has two chimneys at least, and its steeply pitched roof is partially covered with what seems to be fake grass. The gable has several small arched windows, presumably to admit light, and on even closer shots we see that some of the square supporting columns of the building have a rough-hewn wood-grain finish.
The grass on the roof is an odd one — perhaps not something you’d expect of Boern’s hall. Several people have, on the other hand, said they they feel Rhosgobel would have a far more rustic, overgreen feel and the grass certainly lends that.
However, Beorn’s main hall was long and narrow, after the manner of a Saxon longhouse. Tolkien even illustrated it for the Hobbit. And though this building is not that long, would it be hard to digitally extend it, we wonder?
Nearby: the tall doors and column
Then, further into Ringer Glow’s gallery we see another structure, close to the small, narrow building. It appears to be a set of tall doors, with columns on either side, viewed from the rear.
What could this be?
Addendum: Glow suggests these doors could in fact be part of a larger “digital” structure that links directly to the small, narrow building behind, creating a long hall. Also, one of TORn’s forumers speculates that a box in the foreground of one of these shots could be used for keeping bees. And we know that Beorn kept very large honeybees.
Close-in building detail
Some close-in and detail shots give us a good look at the small, narrow building. That’s certainly turf on the roof, and the “oaken posts” are ages to nearly black.
There’s black sheeting under the turf protecting the roof. Could it be camouflage against aerial spies, perhaps?
There’s a strange photo of some stonework in progress. They’re building some sort of dry stone wall. And then we get another angle of the double doors. They’re surrounded by a tall, thick hedge of trees! Maybe it is the gate that Gandalf and Bilbo go through to get to Beorn’s hall — it is very grand-looking gate, though.
The L-shaped building we’ve already seen
Following this, we have some shots of the L-shaped building we saw just the other day. The posts have the same wood finish, but this building also seems to have a corner porch or verandah, too. In the Hobbit, Beorn takes Bilbo and Gandalf out onto a verandah to chat when they first arrive.
Check out the stunning mountain vista with the lake in the foreground. No wonder they call it Paradise.
After that we finally have a couple of shots of some detailed carvings into the wood around some more small arched windows. The second shows a bird — possibly a crow? My bird is not so good. However, I do recall that Radagast is also known as “Aiwendel”, a name that translates as “bird lover” or “bird tamer”. So there’s another for the Radagast camp. And Sylvester McCoy is in New Zealand right now shooting.
On the other hand, Beorn was also a great friend to animals and “kept” very intelligent dogs, sheep and horses.
It’s hard to be absolutely conclusive. Personally I think the evidence leans more toward Beorn’s hall than to Rhosgobel. There are too many match ups with what is described in the book, and the number of buildings seems too many to be Rhosgobel. Does anyone know what Mikael Persbrandt is up to right now?
But I could be wrong! What do you reckon?
Clarification of the layout from Ringer Spy Glow
One tidbit you might find helpful: the structure opposite of the small cottage is a gate surrounded by hedges. The doors are raw plywood and as-yet undecorated. There’s a shot of this gate, from the side -– it’s the one just before the close-ups of the larger structure begin, and has a broken stump in the lower-right foreground.
This gate is cool. It is composed of two large, real trees which flank the doors, and it opens directly onto the ‘cottage’ structure – that is, the gate doors and the ‘cottage’ are centered and aligned.